'The Change-Up' review: An occasionally funny jerk is still a jerk

** (out of four)

The grass is always greener, whether you’re a highly paid, married father of three (like Dave, played by Jason Bateman) or a sexual dynamo making zilch as an actor and getting high all day (like Mitch, played by Ryan Reynolds). So Dave and Mitch drunkenly say “I wish I had your life” in unison while peeing in a fountain and bada bing, the longtime best friends wake up the next morning in each other’s bodies. Careful what you wish for after a night of shots.

The buzz: The body-switcheroo plotline may have been done once or twice before, but it does offer Reynolds and Bateman a chance to play the opposite of their usual playboy and tightwad, respectively. I assume that when I said “tightwad,” writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (“The Hangover”) and director David Dobkin (“Wedding Crashers”) just giggled.

The verdict: Don’t start a movie with a baby projectile pooping in his dad’s mouth. Please. Just don’t. “The Change-Up” generates several laughs when its jokes aren’t based in sexism, racism or the physical/emotional damage of children, which they usually are. There’s nothing wrong with a movie having fun with bad taste (“Bad Teacher” fared better and funnier). The mean-spirited “Change-Up,” on the other hand, celebrates Mitch’s d-bag behavior (including a crack about Down’s syndrome and threatening to “eye-rape” Dave) that grants its guys carte blanche to be cruel and juvenile. Meanwhile, Dave’s wife (Leslie Mann) bawls in unappreciated misery as the film subscribes to the Adam Sandler Comedy Policy that a late-breaking, insincere apology undoes all prior damage. You cool with that, wives of the world?

Did you know? Many words were written about the CGI nipples reportedly applied to Olivia Wilde (who is effective as Dave’s gorgeous colleague), but just a heads-up that those are barely visible at all. Much more noticeable are the blatantly CGI’d breasts given to Mann, which make another actress’ gigantic fake breasts look 100 percent natural by comparison. Where to even begin with this phenomenon?

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Fridays at 7 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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